Sitting deep in the heart of Austria’s Ziller Valley, Mayrhofen also sits deep in the heart of many who visit. Unlike some ski resorts in Europe, Mayrhofen has a very real village feel to it, and all the charm you’d associate with that.
When traveling to Mayrhofen, many people fly to Munich Airport, which is a two hour drive away. Innsbruck airport is even closer, roughy 90 minutes by car, and accessible via two trains. And as Innsbruck is in a valley, you also get the thrill of literally landing right in the Alps.
Mayrhofen has an Alpine charm, with traditional, picture-postcard chalets and shops lining the streets. If that’s the first thing you notice when you arrive, the next will be the strange energy that you feel as you walk around.
There’s an indescribable buzz of excitement that seems to hang in the air in Mayrhofen. It’s an intoxicating feeling that’s part comfort, part adrenaline. Some say it’s because Mayrhofen sits where four points of water cross, which enriches the village with a natural joie de vivre. It could also, of course, be the fact that alcohol is relatively cheap there. Either way, you can’t fail to notice the wind in your sails.
Mayrhofen is best known as a ski and snowboard destination. The Penkenbahn chairlift in the middle of town has seen major redevelopment in recent years (it was once regarded as one of the most terrifying lifts in the world!). It can now take almost 4000 people an hour up to the mountains, where they can enjoy a combined 136km of pistes, ranging from easy blues, to challenging blacks.
Speaking of black runs, Mayrhofen is home to the infamous Harakiri piste. At a staggering 78 per cent gradient, the kilometre and a half run is a must, but only for the most experienced skiers and snowboarders (although why you’d want to try it on a snowboard is slightly mystifying).